Saturday, 06 September 2008

Lexar JumpDrive Lightning                                       

(Review) - Lexar’s JumpDrive Lightning is the company’s top of the line drive for people who seek decent storage on the go. The 2GB version, which we are taking a look at today, has great chrome finishing to it, almost iPod-like, that makes the drive look rather spiffy. The build quality of the JumpDrive Lightning is also impressive, and you can tell the drive is a heavyweight contender in its category. It has an amazingly solid feel to it and is protected with rubber molding to absorb the shocks that the drive may experience during unintentional drops to the floor. There’s also an opening at the end for you to secure the drive on a keychain.

While we like the build quality the exterior, the chrome finishing is smudge prone. More importantly, however, the drive is based on a traditional removable cap design. We would much rather see a drive that inserts the USB connector back into the drive with a thumb slider, much like what we saw with SanDisk’s Cruzer Titanium. It’s a great feeling not to have to worry about keeping track of the cap.

We must also mention that the cap was impossible to remove during our testing with bare hands, which was shocking, to say the least. We have never worked with a drive before that required us to use a knife blade (or a similarly thin tool) to forcefully remove the cap. What’s up with that? It appears as though the drive has two ways for the cap to cover the connector: one way is to simply put it on and it will stay there unless you violently shake the drive, and the second way is to make the cap "click" for a more secure connection between the body and the cap. The more secure part was where Lexar missed. It’s a little too secure, and due to the slippery chrome exterior, you can’t take it off with your fingers.

Moving on, the drive is equipped with a security application and a LED indicator (on the outside) that were an expected addition to the overall package. PowerToGo, an onboard application, let’s you take your documents and applications with you on the go, similar to SanDisk's U3 technology. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the onboard application is its shredding capabilities and security aspects. Vault will let you make a separate, mountable partition with a drive letter of its own to store highly confidential data. You can also encrypt/decrypt data on the drive or your PC right from the drive, which is pretty cool. You know the data is going to be relatively secure with a 256-bit encryption engine. Everything is password protected, of course. The shredder will let you permanently delete files on the desktop or the drive, another awesome feature. However, the only thing you need to keep in mind is that if you encrypt/decrypt your desktop files or create a vault for more security, you must have the drive with you at all times to access those files. Lexar should have a desktop application that takes care of that, presumably for free.

Click here to get the latest prices on Lexar JumpDrive Lightning!

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